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Around 17 per cent of the natural vegetation in the Brazilian Amazon has already been devastated. This clearly shows that the Brazilian government has not met its objectives, set in 2003, to reduce the deforestation of the Amazonian forest.

WWF criticizes the Brazilian government for promoting inconsistent policies, which encourage real estate speculation within forest areas in order to expand cattle ranching and industrial-scale farming. This causes environmental and social devastation because of illegal land clearing, exploitation of workers, and criminal activities.

The federal government and most of the region's states have failed to adopt sustainable development as a policy for the Amazon.

"Despite the efforts of the Ministry of Environment, the federal government and state authorities are not committed enough to the fight against deforestation," said Tessa Robertson, Head of the Forests Programme at WWF-UK.

"Governmental bodies and business corporations must do much more to reduce such a shocking deforestation rate, otherwise we run the real risk that a considerable part of the Brazilian forest will disappear before it has even been explored."

Although the Amazon Protected Areas Programme (ARPA), launched in 2002 and supported by WWF, set aside almost 16 million hectares of land for conservation and sustainable use, WWF believes that much more needs to be done to save the world's most important rainforest.

"Creating protected areas is a truly effective conservation measure, but it is not a sufficient mechanism to stop deforestation," added Denise Hamu, WWF Brazil's CEO.

"We need to stop the rampant destruction of the forest and ensure that its resources benefit both people and nature."
Burnt rainforest making way for unsustainable cattle ranching, Brazil © WWF Canon/Mauri RAUTKARI

Image removed.Pantanal, Brazil © WWF-Canon/Y.-J. REY-MILLET" border="0" alt="Jaguar, Panthera onca, in a tree Pantanal, Brazil © WWF Canon/Y. J. REY MILLET" />

Image removed.Flooded forest, Amazonas, Brazil © WWF-Canon / Edward PARKER" border="0" alt="Common wolly monkey, Amazonas, Brazil © WWF Canon / Edward PARKER" />

Further information
To find out more about our work in this area visit the forests section of our online research centre.